Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument review
|Release date:||October 2011|
01. Sienipilvi [feat. Marko Neuman]
03. Uusi Olento Nousee [feat. Marko Neuman]
04. Luhistuva Aikahäkki
06. Siirtorata 100 10100
08. Loputon Tuntematon
09. Kaaos Hallitsee
Ya know how sometimes people jokingly refer to Enslaved as "the Pink Floyd of black metal?" Well if Enslaved are the godfathers of this modern fusion of black metal with progressive underpinnings, then Oranssi Pazuzu took the whole idea and completely threw it out the window. In 2009, this little-known Finnish band appeared like a Close Encounter Of The Third Kind with their debut Muukalainen Puhuu, an album praised for its unique sound and originality. And here they are again, returning from the outer regions of the Andromeda Galaxy with 2011's follow-up, Kosmonument. But what exactly is Kosmonument, anyway? Is it psychedelic music? Is it black metal? Is it both? Or is it neither? The truth is, endeavoring an answer to any of these questions is pretty useless, because, quite simply, there aren't any. But then, that's part of the beauty that is Oranssi Pazuzu: the more you try to understand their music, the less you do, and vice versa. It's best to just surrender to the ethereal nature of this album, and let it take you over.
Perhaps the most enjoyable feature of this album is how beautifully and seamlessly everything manages to come together. Like with a good curry recipe, on Kosmonument, Oranssi Pazuzu demonstrate a mature knowledge of how to best combine the ingredients of their formula into a truly unique result. For example, on "Maavaltimo," the band begins with a heavy guitar riff, which the typical black metal shrieks soon come in over. This is soon augmented by the use of keyboards, and continues until about three minutes in, when after a brief pause, we hear a groovy, almost funk-oriented rhythm between the guitar and bass, over which an eerie, spine-tingling keyboard rhythm is played. The same can be said of "Komeetta," where, before the chorus where the title of the track is shrieked, the guitar and bass enter into a similar "funkish" groove, where (is it possible?) the bass is actually very audible! This can be seen as something of an innovation, since there aren't many black metal bands (to the best of my knowledge) whose bassists aren't simply smothered in the mix.
Then there are the instrumentals ("Luhistuva Aikahäkki," "Siirtorata 100 10100," and "∞"). As much as Kosmonument is an album that should be taken in its entirety, I must say that these are, in a way, the tracks that stand out the most. The atmosphere they create is one of mystery, almost to a point of being a bit scary, but scary in a sense of unknown, a sense of something existing beyond our knowledge, that we both fear and revere. Like wandering through a dark cave, you feel a bit uncomfortable, and yet you want to know more, to press on, simply because you can't help the fact that the music has piqued an inherent curiosity within you.
Kosmonument is an absolutely stunning release, and is easily one of the most boldly experimental albums of 2011. But the experimentation Oranssi Pazuzu dabble with here is a success. This isn't like some thrash band whose been playing fast-paced aggressive music for years deciding to move towards a more mainstream sound. Nor is it like a sugar-coated pop metal band deciding to man up and play some faster, more ball-crushing metal either. This is a band that is daring enough to try something new and original, and whose composers are mature enough to know how to effectively put all the elements together to make it happen. During the Cold War, Winston Churchill said that the USSR was "a riddle, inside a mystery, wrapped in an enigma." The same can be said of Kosmonument. Attempting to analyze it is a matter best left for after you listen to it. This album is a unique jewel, but one that will only bestow its beauty upon those willing to see it. So if you're armed with an open mind, and an eagerness to hear some truly out-of-the-box material, then I highly recommend you give the surreal majesty of Kosmonument a listen.
|Oranssi Pazuzu's debut work - Muukalainen Puhuu - appeared like a vibrating constellation of paranormal activities in the northern sky. All of a sudden a cosmic assault of psychedelic and obscure black metal soundscapes started flickering and dispersing their otherworldly essence all over the place. It's nothing new anymore that the demons have invaded space and conquered it. That's what Oranssi Pazuzu's first attempt was; what their second album - Kosmonument - pushes for has to be the establishment and colonization of the previous effort's legacy.
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